Last night I was out in the cold, windy wetness that usually characterises an English October. Running down a potholed towpath I stepped in a puddle that turned out to be a pothole and twisted my left ankle, again! I have a recurring left ankle injury that manifests itself when I don’t land my left foot properly, causing it to roll onto the outside edge and pull the tendons. I’ve been told by a doctor and various physios that it will never quite recover (thus recurring).
Given that the Original Mountain Marathon is now less than two weeks’ away, I wasn’t too impressed. However, judicious application of 5mm wide zinc oxide tape around the affected area has acted as an external tendon, keeping me in running form for the upcoming event without further risk to my weak ankle.
For fellow ankle injury sufferers, here are some pro tips from some physios and athleres to strengthen your ankle and surrounding muscles. Even if you’re in top form, give some of these a go- they may be harder than you think! NB: As always, do the following exercises after assessing the risks to your health… i.e. don’t sue me if you break yourself!
- Stand on one foot (I’ve taken to doing this with one foot just hovering above the ground whilst talking with colleagues… thoey normally don’t notice!)
- Stand on one foot with your eyes closed.
- Stand on a wobble board on one foot with your eyes closed for thirty seconds.
- Perform one-legged squats, keeping your knee pointing forward, gradually building up the number of reps as you improve.
- Use a Theraband (type of wide elastic band) as a ring around both your feet whilst sat down. With toes pointing forward, keep left foor straight and stretch your right foot right whilst keeping your legs together. Repeat then swap feet.
- Collect a few pebbles. With your toes of one foot, move the pile of pebbles from one spot on the floor to another. With the other foot, move them back. This has a a similar effect to the stress balls used by climbers to strengthen tendons.
- Re-assess your footware. Not just whilst running but everyday footwear too.
If you have any ankle injuries and find that any of the above help, or if you have a better exercise that I’ve not mentioned, let me know 🙂